The new league year is set to start on March 18, 2020, and many decisions will be made over the next few days. I will look at what I think Jason Licht should do in free agency to make this year’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers a better team.
Tampa Bay’s Offense
The most important position that needs to be corrected is the offensive line. Licht must figure out how to replace Demar Dotson at right tackle if they decide not to re-sign him. Jack Conklin should be on the list of players that they look at. Conklin would be an upgrade to the offensive line and is only 25 years old. He ranks second in the top free-agent tackles in the league and could instantly help improve the teams run blocking.
Halapouilivaati Vaitai is regarded as one of the best backup offensive linemen in the league and is looking to compete for a starting job. Vaitai played a huge part in the Philadelphia Eagles line once Jason Peters was hurt during their Super Bowl run. The Buccaneers could use him, and he would be a more reasonable price tag over players like Conklin
What About Quarterback?
The biggest question of the offseason is whether the Buccaneers re-sign Jameis Winston. Many reports over the last week have Tampa going all in for Tom Brady. In my opinion, I would not try to sign Brady. I would bring back Winston on a short-term deal and see how he progresses in year two under Bruce Arians. Carson Palmer stated he believes year two Winston can cut down on the interceptions and become the franchise player that many think he is.
Tampa Bay’s Defense
Once the off-season was underway, Licht has to keep Shaquil Barrett in a Buccaneer uniform. Barrett is a player that the Buccaneers will look to keep on the roster for years to come. Barrett signed a one-year deal last offseason and had a breakout season. He led the league in sacks with 19.5 and was elected to his first Pro Bowl.
Arians’ has said that they wanted to keep the defense intact and Barrett is going to be the top priority. While at the Pro Bowl, Barrett was asked about the upcoming free agency period. He stated that he loved playing in Tampa and wanted to come back. The Buccaneers know that Barrett is a key piece and I don’t see them not re-signing him once free agency starts.
One More Key Defensive Piece
In my eyes, re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul in this year’s free agency period could be huge for the Buccaneers. Pierre-Paul’s high motor and will to win have become an example to the younger players and sparked something in the defense once he returned to the field. When asked after the season if he wanted to return to Tampa, Pierre-Paul said he would love to be back but knows that it is a business and would want to see what happens.
Many decisions must be made over the next week. Jason Licht and Coach Arians will have the fate of the franchise in their hands. I trust they will make this year’s team a playoff contender and something the fans and the city of Tampa can be proud of.